Credit hours:

Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Many foster children have experienced multiple traumatic events in their childhood. It’s imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how trauma impacts the children they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes
  • how response to stress can impact child and adolescent development
  • features of trauma-informed services
  • the perspective of young people who have experienced trauma
  • ways that foster parents can provide trauma-informed support to children and youth

Step 1

Learn how childhood trauma unfolds across a lifetime from Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris in the video, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime:

Step 2

Learn what trauma is, how young people respond to trauma, and how trauma-informed services benefit young people in foster care by reading the article, "Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care".

Step 3

Review the JBS International article, "Youth and Family Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Care" and learn how identifying trauma may help to overcome it.

Step 4

Review the Fostering Perspectives article, "Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know", to obtain valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn what the impact of untreated trauma has on a young person, understand your child’s behavior in reaction to trauma, and practical tips to help your child overcome trauma in the article "Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma".

Step 6

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? You are encouraged to use a real-life example, if you have one (but please don't use any names in your story).

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Course Discussion

hinsch1771's picture

hinsch1771 said:

Parents should be cognizant of the past traumas and discipline in a more nurturing way as the source of the trauma could actually be severe physical or emotional discipline.


Try to find out more about the child's history to get a better understanding of any potential triggers to get an idea of what works and how not to escalate the situation.
LaQuella L McNary's picture

LaQuella L McNary said:

Provide realistic expectations and encourage open communication daily.
orhue1111's picture

orhue1111 said:

Child should be part of treatment plan, care giver be able to detect changes in behavior early and what triggers it .
rdsimpson7112's picture

rdsimpson7112 said:

It's very important to have an idea of what happened and what triggers are present. That way you can reassure the child/youth as necessary. Work on building rapport/gaining trust. Be careful not to break that trust as they have likely already struggled with trust issues in the past. Ask them what is going on, what you can do to help, and let them contribute to how things will be dealt with moving forward. They need some sort of control in their life. They can be held accountable easier if they deviate from a plan that they assisted with putting into place. Taking more of a teaching approach than reprimanding approach may help as well. Often foster children have not been taught even the basics, so don't assume they should "know better."
tiamnichols's picture

tiamnichols said:

Our children are young so for us it is looking at the behaviors that they are having and when a visit has happened. Usually the behaviors are fussiness and irritability. Instead of "disciplining" for screaming or tantrums like you might a typical toddler I will give her the attention and reassurance of safety that she needs.
frenchy78's picture

frenchy78 said:

You would want to make sure you new the child's "triggers" so you wouldn't mistake something as simply defiance or misbehavior but be able to identify the underlying issue.
katiejfrench's picture

katiejfrench said:

Talking to children about good choices and bad choices. Helping them to understand the consequence that comes from their choices. Trying to find out if there was some emotion behind their decision that led to a bad choice and addressing the cause of the emotion.
Truth and Love's picture

Truth and Love said:

Helping a child to know what is right and wrong. Helping a child to heal from being wronged. Helping a child to trust again..... takes time and a lot of effort from an adult.
bryantae's picture

bryantae said:

We try to keep structure and reinforce good decisions versus poor decisions. When emotional triggers set off 12 yr old we are teaching him to find ways to calm down before he blows up. He will go to his room or outside to calm down.